Don't forget to scout your summer grass forages for fall armyworms. A few fall armyworms have already been found in pastures and hayfields in Lamar and St. Clair Counties in Alabama.
So far, there have not been enough insects to cause economic loss. However the weather forecast calls for warmer, drier weather in Alabama the next few weeks. We know hot and dry weather is better for fall armyworms than for their natural enemies. Therefore, it makes sense to start scouting now.
To scout for fall armyworms, use a sweep net to take about 40 sweeps in several areas of each field. If you know of particular fields or spots within fields that often have fall armyworm problems, start with those areas.
If you find numerous fall armyworms, take a closer look to see how many caterpillars are present per square foot. If there are more than 2-3 per square foot, it is time for action. Early harvest can salvage the forage and kill many fall armyworms. If the field is not ready to harvest, there are various insecticides that can be used to control fall armyworms in pastures.
More information on managing fall armyworms in Alabama forage grasses can be found on this resource board.
If you find enough fall armyworms to take action in your Alabama forages, please let me know so I can update our Fall Armyworm Watch Map